The Daily View: Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuition; Apprenticeships

From Unz:Our Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuition

Although Harvard is widely known as one of America’s oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world’s largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational…

I agree, but members of a certain political party would prefer make college cheap for those least intellectually qualified to benefit, for the worst of colleges. The tuition at Harvard, for example, while high, is seldom paid in full, and the high-IQ students with their connections quickly get good jobs anyway. Maybe another idea is to make tuition free and then have students pay it back later, with terms much more lenient than a typical student loan. That’s kinda how alma mater donations works. If you can fill Harvard and the other top schools with the best minds in the world who will create the future Googles, Apples, Teslas, and Facebooks, the schools will reap more in donations than they will ever collect in tuition.

But then the problem arises of too many smart people and not enough slots for these elite schools, which is why a better solution is to just do-away with credentialism and use IQ and SAT scores as a proxy for intelligence and competence instead of expensive, time consuming degrees. This is discussed further in the blog archives.

On a somewhat related note, Henry Dampier from http://www.socialmatter.net/ ponders why the apprenticeship system cannot be revived:

Billionaires like Nassim Taleb and Peter Thiel have both advocated something like a return to the apprenticeship system which was ubiquitous up until the early modern era. These suggestions are also often echoed by bloggers and others who know vaguely about what they want, but aren’t quite clear on what the old apprenticeship system was and why it ultimately faded.

This article will attempt to clear out some of the confusion and obfuscation around the issue.

One company that attempted to revive the apprenticeship concept for high tech companies just shut down earlier this month. In the closing letter, the founders cited some failed matches and high expenses for managing the relationships between ‘apprentices’ and mentors. Their ambition was to create a national apprenticeship network, but the model couldn’t scale.

Perhaps a hurdle is the issue of disparate impact. For a tech apprenticeship (or any apprenticeship), teachers want apprentices who can learn quickly, which would require an IQ-like test of some sort to ascertain learning and critical thinking ability, but this opens the window to litigation and other problems. After all, training is at the company’s dime, so companies want the best trainees that they can find who won’t take too much time grasping the necessary knowledge to begin profitable work. Perhaps a notable example is Google, which says they no longer use GPAs for hiring. They obviously have other methods for screening employees. But training is a different matter; Google expects its coders to be proficient in coding upon applying. Testing for necessary skills that are directly applicable for the job removes the disparate impact risk, but then you don’t have an apprenticeship.

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